Making Your Dream of Long-term Travel a Reality

Making Your Dream of Long-term Travel a Reality

 

When I was a kid, my parents took us on a five-week trip to Europe and it completely changed my view of the world and traveling. Up until then, I had thought that people didn’t travel before retirement or didn’t travel with kids because they couldn’t walk away from their everyday activities and responsibilities. That experience helped me see that it is possible to get out there and go on your dream vacation before age 65 with some intentional planning.

 

Now, I love having the chance to help others plan and encourage them to travel and take their dream vacations. It’s so rewarding to watch others live out their dreams of bike touring the Pacific Coast from Canada to Mexico, traveling the country in their Tofino van, and backpacking through Europe after missing the chance to do so in college.

 

With fall in full swing, many families are finding their kids back at school, and some families are experiencing an empty nest for the first time in 18 years or more. If that’s the moment you’ve been waiting for to finally take that trip you’ve been dreaming about, there might still be some items you’re unsure of or haven’t yet thought about.

 

Let’s say your job offers an unpaid sabbatical, but you’re not sure if taking a few months off is going to push back your retirement timeline substantially. You know you need to make your travel plans and determine your trip route, but you’re not sure what else you need to consider.

 

As financial advisors, we help provide clarity around these unknowns. We can certainly answer your questions about how your trip might impact your retirement timeline so you’re comfortable making the decision to take time away now that you finally can! In helping answer what else you should be keeping in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some important planning items for long-term trips:

 

Financials. Consider setting all your bills to autopay if you haven’t already done so. You can also set up automatic transfers for any bank or retirement accounts that you add funds to on a regular basis. Be sure to notify your financial advisor that you’ll be gone, especially if you might be unreachable for some period of time. It’s also important to notify your bank if you’re traveling so that they don’t flag your purchases as fraudulent and deny your purchases in other countries or states.

 

Documents. Organize your important documents and know where they are in case you need to direct someone to access them. Consider making copies of your passports, medical cards, and other documents you may need to access while traveling in case you misplace any actual documents. If you don’t already have Wills, Powers of Attorney, or Health Care Directives in place, we’d highly recommend creating those estate planning documents in case something happens while you’re traveling.

 

Home. Consider having someone check on your home while you’re away. You can leave them instructions for caring for your home such as watering the plants, checking that appliances are working properly, and starting up your sedentary cars every so often. Consider setting up automatic timers for lights in your home and an alarm system for security purposes if someone won’t be at your home regularly while you’re away. You can have your mail forwarded or held by the post office while you’re away as well if that’s needed. Also consider turning on auto-replies for email and tailoring your voicemail to let others know if your usual response timing may change.

 

Pets. If you have pets and aren’t planning on taking them with you, you’ll need to find someone to care for them while you’re away. Whether that’s family, a pet sitter through a platform like Rover, or a boarding company, it’s great to leave them with detailed instructions about your pet’s food, routine, and behavior.

 

Health Care. Not all medical insurance plans offer coverage outside of your home state or country. If your coverage doesn’t extend to where you’re traveling, consider putting travel medical insurance in place in case something happens. If you have any regular prescription medications, you’ll also need to work with your pharmacist to be sure you have a plan for refilling your prescriptions.

 

Travel Insurance. Travel insurance can help provide emergency medical coverage as well as coverage for cancelations, delays, and/or accidents while you’re traveling. Consider working with an agent to determine what the right coverage is for your travel plans.

 

Contingency Plan. In case something goes awry, it’s important to have a contingency plan in place. Be sure you have an emergency contact back home and have equipped them properly for anything that could come up while you’re away. For example, be sure they know who’s watching your pets or caring for your home. Consider creating a “just-in-case” bag with additional items you might need sent to you should plans change.

 

 

Conversations about planning for dream vacations is one of the best parts of my job. I’m grateful to be able to work with people to help uncover their dreams and figure out a plan to make them happen now—not only in retirement. If you’ve got ideas about what’s important for you and your future, let’s connect! I’d love to help you get there!

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: All opinions expressed in this article are for general informational purposes and constitute the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of the report. These opinions are subject to change without notice and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security. The material has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, however Merriman cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source.  Merriman does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be taken as such.

The Scary Thing About Getting Married…

The Scary Thing About Getting Married…

 

In the spirit of Halloween, I want to share something I did earlier this year that scared the candy corn out of me, something that chilled my bones and chattered my teeth, something that made my stomach flip like stepping off a cliff ledge…

…I got married.

 

Jokes aside, after the streamers come down and the wedding party goes home, you and your partner are officially married. I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “Ok, now what?” It turns out I wasn’t alone in asking this question. A number of us at Merriman got married in 2022. During one of our regular meetings, we talked about the adjustment period that occurs as couples move from dating to marriage. And while I recommend couples discuss finances prior to getting married, it doesn’t always sink in or hit home until you and your spouse are trying to plan a clearer picture for your future as a married couple.

 

Life is short and moves at a brisk pace. The average age for couples to get married in the US has jumped up from early to mid-20s to late 20s and early 30s. Many of the young couples I meet come to me in a panic because they feel they are behind on retirement savings, late in buying a house, or overdue in thinking about their children’s education expenses. Sitting across the table, they unfurl a scroll’s worth of goals they want to tackle simultaneously. Here’s what I tell them:

 

  • You are not “behind.” There is still plenty of time to achieve your financial goals. I’m also guilty of entertaining the fallacy that one night I’ll go to sleep at 35 years old and wake up at 65. Your income will increase. You will experience promotions and fits and starts in your career. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your current financial situation will last from now until retirement.

 

  • It’s okay to divide and conquer. My partner and I would like to buy a house in the next few years. One of the biggest obstacles we face — aside from astronomical housing prices in Western Washington — is that my MBA program created substantial student loan debt. Compared to my partner, my ability to save for a house is hampered by monthly student loan payments. After we got married, we had a conversation about the nature of our finances. It’s no longer “my money” and “his money” but “our money” and how we plan to allocate where it goes. When we had the chat about how to buy a house, we decided each spouse had a job that would bring us closer to our goal. His job became focused on putting cash away for a down payment. My job became focused on paying down as much student debt as I can. These conversations are critical because they reduce the risk of emotional tensions getting in the way of clearly seeing the end goal. There is no longer the pressure of feeling as if one spouse is doing more than the other to get us closer to buying a house.

 

  • Set a target date. Setting a mutually agreed upon date for meeting your financial goals is important because it provides a light at the end of the tunnel. Say that you have a goal for a home down payment that’s three years in the future. If the goal requires a lifestyle adjustment where you eat out less or skip a vacation, you at least know it’s temporary. There’s an end date in sight. If you’re diligent, the lifestyle adjustments will stick even after you meet your goal, leaving more cash in your wallet.

 

  • Track your progress. When I worked for Disney, I was responsible for the Shanghai Disney Resort’s onboarding orientation program, an operational beast that moved thousands of employees through the onboarding process. I had a manager who constantly reminded me, “What isn’t measured isn’t managed.” Put another way, if you’re not tracking your progress, then you have no way of knowing whether you are on track to meet your goals. I love using an app called You Need a Budget that shows our progress. Furthermore, you lose any bragging rights to your successes if you don’t know what successes you have achieved. Imagine a friend asking how saving for a house is going. Excitedly, you tell them, “Great! We saved up some amount of cash and will start maybe sometime, I don’t know, looking. We’ll see.” Way to go…?

 

  • Life will get in the way. You both are a unit now. When life hits one spouse, it hits you both. Dishwashers break. People are laid off. Babies are born. When this happens, lean into it. If your progress becomes derailed, talk about solving the issue — whether it’s allocating money to the extenuating circumstance or adjusting your goal’s timeline — and recommit to the new game plan. It’s extremely easy to become demoralized or despondent, but if you go into this knowing life will get in the way, it allows you to focus your mind and energy on getting back on track.

 

At the risk of sounding like a marriage counselor, the advice provided here is to help the shift from thinking as two separate individuals to thinking as two halves of a whole unit. The reality of getting married is that, while you may not feel any different, your commitments to each other ultimately demand a higher level of communication to identify how — together — you will meet your goals. You undoubtedly will have disagreements and competing priorities, but your financial plan necessitates coming to an agreement on how and where to focus your financial resources. Start having that conversation right now.

 

The advisors at Merriman can help you identify, plan, and keep you on track for your financial goals. Feel free to reach out to us to schedule an initial consultation.

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: All opinions expressed in this article are for general informational purposes and constitute the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of the report. These opinions are subject to change without notice and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security. The material has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, however Merriman cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source.  Merriman does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be taken as such.

Financial Planning Items to Consider When Your Child Turns 18

Financial Planning Items to Consider When Your Child Turns 18

 

Turning 18 is a big milestone! At 18, we become legal adults (and we like to think that means we’re real adults), although kids who turn 18 now are often still heavily supported by their families. There are some financial planning items you should be thinking about when supporting your now adult child to set you both up for success.

Health Care Directive

When your child turns 18, you’ll no longer be able to make medical decisions for them. Given this, we highly recommend your child puts a health care directive in place (also called a living will or health care power of attorney) so you’re able to make their medical decisions should something happen and they’re unable to do so themselves. In this directive, your child can spell out certain medical wishes and name agents, such as parents, who can make their medical decisions or access their medical information if they become incapacitated. Your child can create an à la carte directive through an estate planning attorney or an online estate planning platform such as Legal Zoom. Of note, once your child begins a family of their own, they may want to update their directive so their significant other is their primary agent for making those medical decisions.

Durable Financial Power of Attorney

When your child turns 18, you’ll no longer be able to legally access their financial accounts unless you’re a co-owner. Similar to the health care directive, we highly recommend your child puts a durable financial power of attorney in place so you’re able to help pay their bills if something happens and they’re unable to do so themselves. Your child can name agents, such as parents, who can make certain financial decisions for them should they become incapacitated. As with the health care directive, your child can create an à la carte durable power of attorney document through an estate planning attorney or an online estate planning platform such as Legal Zoom. Your child may also want to update their power of attorney document once they have a significant other so that person is their primary agent.

Roth IRA Contributions

As soon as your child has earned income, they can begin contributing to an individual retirement account such as an IRA or Roth IRA. Usually, your child’s first years of earnings through part-time work or minimum wage jobs will be much less than in future years when they have a career job, which is a great time for them to contribute to a Roth IRA and benefit from compound interest. While they won’t receive a current tax benefit for their contribution (which they probably don’t need if they have very little income), they instead have the opportunity to invest and then withdraw those funds tax-free in retirement. Kids who work a part-time job may want to spend those dollars on entertainment or personal items, so they may not have extra dollars to save towards retirement; however, you can help kickstart their retirement savings by contributing to their Roth IRA if you’d like to support them in this way. Your child can contribute the lesser either of the total of their earned income or $6,000 for tax year 2022, and they don’t have to contribute the exact dollars they made. Thus, as a parent (or even a grandparent), you can gift them that amount of funds either directly to their Roth IRA or to their bank account for them to contribute the funds themselves.

Bank Accounts

If your child doesn’t already have a bank account, we recommend they open one and begin getting comfortable using it. Bank accounts and debit cards are tools they’ll need to use in today’s e-commerce environment. If your child is interested in going to school outside of their hometown, they may want to consider signing up for a bank account with a larger bank that may have branches or ATMs available in other areas. Of note, different types of bank accounts have various fees to be aware of, so it might be a good exercise for your child to read the fine print before opening an account to have an understanding of those possible fees so they can proactively avoid incurring them.

Building Credit

If your child doesn’t have an auto loan, student loan, or a credit card by the time they turn 18, we recommend beginning that conversation, as these forms of debt are tools that can help your child build their credit. Sometimes a bank or lender may not approve a credit card or loan for your child with no credit history, but they may be willing to do so with a secured or student card, you co-signing on a card with your child, or you adding them as an authorized user on one of your cards. The longer your child’s credit history, the higher their score might be, which may help them receive better interest rates or terms for auto or home loans in the future. Due to this, it can be advantageous for your child to open a credit card as early as possible and keep that card open for as long as possible. While credit cards with high interest rates and limits can be troublesome if they’re misused, you can certainly teach your child to treat their credit card like a debit card, meaning they should only spend money they already have in their bank account, which they then pay off each billing cycle or sooner to avoid late payments and interest penalties.

Tracking Credit

If they haven’t already done so, we also recommend your child creates logins for all three credit bureau websites—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—and regularly tracks their credit score to ensure there are no errors or fraudulent activity. Your child (and you, too!) may also want to consider freezing or locking their credit with each bureau to prevent fraud if they are not expecting a bank, lender, or landlord to check their credit at that time. If a bank, lender, or landlord is going to check their credit in the future, then your child would simply need to unfreeze or unlock their credit with each bureau beforehand.

Budgeting

Help your child learn to track their expenses and create a budget so they learn how to save for items they want and better understand what it costs for them to live or participate in activities with their friends. Even with supporting your child, you may consider having them use a credit card and bank account for all their expenses and pre-paying them or reimbursing them for expenses so that they have some accountability to a budget and learn to manage that. Mint.com by Intuit is a great tool for help with tracking spending, budgeting, and savings goals.

Aid and Loans for College

College is a major life decision for many 18-year-olds. Hopefully you’ve already been talking with your child about college well before they turn 18 and have had a chance to discuss their options for schools and how much you are willing or able to contribute toward their education costs. If you’re not able to fully support their college costs, it’s important to talk with them about their financing options. Please review our Demystifying College Financial Aid article for details they should know and consider with financing.

 

We’ve seen these financial planning items be invaluable for the families we work with and their kids, and we hope they’re helpful for you and your family as well. We’re always happy to help talk through specific situations and questions, so please don’t hesitate to reach out about yours!

 

 

Disclosure: All opinions expressed in this article are for general informational purposes and constitute the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of the report. These opinions are subject to change without notice and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security. The material has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, however Merriman cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source.  Merriman does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be taken as such.

Navigating the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Navigating the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

 

My college roommate Maddy knows the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) system well. Maddy used federal student loans to finance her undergraduate and graduate degrees. As a high school teacher, she’s dedicated a large portion of her school’s homeroom curriculum to making sure her students enter college with a better understanding of how personal finances, credit, and loan amortization work. I got together with Maddy to chat about her experience navigating the federal student loan system from start to finish and to find out what advice she has for parents and students today.

 

Moorea: To start off, can you tell me what degrees you have, where you went to school, and how you financed your college expenses?

Maddy: Sure. I have a BA in English from the University of Oregon, a master’s in teaching from Oregon State University, and a master’s in English from Portland State University. My undergraduate degree was funded about 30% by scholarships and 70% by federal student loans. My graduate degree from OSU was paid for 100% with federal student loans and my second graduate degree from PSU was paid for by federal loans and a tuition program through my job that covered $1,000 per term.

 

Moorea: Do you remember what your thought process was when you were 18 and deciding to take out your first student loan?

Maddy: Yeah, there was no thought process. I answered all the questions on the FAFSA with my mom, and at the end of the application, I clicked a box that said “Yes, Accept.” There was a very basic loan counseling page that I read, but it didn’t mean much at the time because I didn’t understand the concept of amortization. It was 2009 during the financial crisis, and everyone was taking out student loans. Debt was the expectation.

Because my parents’ expected family contribution was high, I didn’t qualify for subsidized loans (loans that don’t accrue interest until after graduation) despite them not paying anything towards my college. I didn’t know my student loans were accruing interest the whole time I was in school.

 

Moorea: You’re in charge of writing your school’s curriculum. Are you doing anything to prepare your students to make financial decisions after high school?

Maddy: Yes! In addition to a traditional personal finance and college prep curriculum, I walk through how to fill out the FAFSA with students page by page. I do a cost benefit analysis with students where we compare the cost of tuition at three community colleges, three states schools, and one private university. I walk my students through how many hours of a minimum wage job you’d have to work to pay off the loan over a 10-year period and explain how loan amortization works.

 

Moorea: What advice do you have for students and parents to help offset the cost of college?

Maddy: Consider completing your general education requirements at community college. Many Oregon students qualify for free community college through the Oregon Promise Grant.

If you’re considering attending a state school and your high school covers the cost of community college classes or offers College Now classes, take these because the credits will transfer to a university.

If you’re considering a more prestigious school or private college, focus on taking AP classes and sitting for the AP exams.

All students should volunteer as it looks good on college, scholarship, and job applications.

 

While it is a highly valuable asset in life, college education is a big expense, and families should discuss and plan with their financial advisor to determine how to proceed with this important life decision. If you want assistance with this planning process, please reach out to us.

 

 

Disclosure: All opinions expressed in this article are for general informational purposes and constitute the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of the report. These opinions are subject to change without notice and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Statements attributed to an individual represent the opinions of that individual as of the date published and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Merriman. The material is presented solely for information purposes and has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, however Merriman cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source. Merriman does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be relied upon as such.

New Parents Guide to Securing Your Future and Supporting Your Loved Ones

New Parents Guide to Securing Your Future and Supporting Your Loved Ones

 

Making the decision to bring a child into the world and create a family of your own is a major life milestone to be celebrated. With this very exciting step can also come a lot of uncertainty and what-ifs about how to prepare for the coming months and years ahead. Without the proper planning or conversations about the future, it can all start to feel overwhelming or unmanageable. The good news is that whether you are planning to become parents soon or further down the road in your relationship, there are ways to start securing your financial future now to set yourself up for success wherever your life journey takes you.

 

Build an emergency fund

No matter what stage you’re in when it comes to your relationship or life in general, creating a sound financial foundation for yourself is a wise idea. Although your financial allocation might already be spread thin from paying off your loans, car payments, mortgage, rent, and other monthly bills, it’s important to have a plan for an emergency. Of course, you do need to stay on top of bills and scheduled payments; however, as new parents, it’s especially important to have a financial safety net should something unexpected happen.

This is also smart budgeting practice for individuals and their families. If it takes more than a month to set aside around $500, you might want to take a closer look at your spending habits. A reasonable goal is to have about six months’ worth of financial coverage to pay all your bills and expenses should you have no other source of income for a time. This might seem like a lot initially; however, after facing a worldwide pandemic, you can see how it would be beneficial to have an emergency fund to protect your family in the event of a crisis, job loss, or other outstanding circumstance.

 

Ensure healthcare coverage

Depending on your profession, it’s possible that you have healthcare coverage and benefits. If you are an entrepreneur, on the other hand, or work for yourself, it’s essential that you have the appropriate coverage for your situation. Talking with your spouse or partner in this case might be helpful to determine if you need separate or additional coverage for your family’s needs. There are various options available to get health insurance as an entrepreneur or if you are self-employed. Getting ready to start a family is a great time to ensure you have the appropriate coverage for the coming months.

 

Secure a life insurance policy

There are various ways to go about financial planning and investing in your future that will allow for less anxiety should you experience an unanticipated circumstance. It’s recommended that soon-to-be parents or new parents secure a life insurance policy as a way to protect your loved ones, allow for peace of mind in the present, and create financial assurance should you not be around to support your family.

Additionally, life insurance rates increase by about 8% annually, so it’s best to secure financial protection now if you think you’ll have dependents later. Ideally, the best time to shop for life insurance is before you become pregnant or in the earlier months of pregnancy since health complications can arise during pregnancy. But if this is not the case for you, there are still options to help you get affordable rates. Many people misunderstand how much life insurance they need and opt for whatever is available through their work or employer. Experts recommend a death benefit of at least 10–15x your annual income to prevent your family from being underinsured. Often with an employer or group policy, you will not be given this much coverage.

 

Get in the habit of budgeting

As mentioned, having a clear understanding of your financial situation is extremely critical if you are planning to become parents. Knowing where you stand in terms of monthly income versus expenditure plus additional investments will help you determine if you will need to cut back when the baby comes. Not only does a newborn require all your time and attention, but they also can be expensive. From clothes, food, and supplies to furniture, strollers, and doctor appointments, your finances will certainly be impacted.

Based on your relationship and situation, you and your significant other can decide on a budgeting method that works best for you. Getting into the habit of budgeting your finances before bringing a baby into the picture is a great idea if you are not used to accounting for all your expenses. If you are newer to budgeting for yourself or with your partner, it might be worthwhile to research some of the best budgeting methods as one style might be more naturally suited to your lifestyle. If you feel like budgeting is taking over your life or forcing you to change too much, you might be less likely to stick to it. Finding a sustainable way to manage your finances will help you get started and improve as time goes on without sacrificing more than you are willing to.

 

Work with a professional

If you are approaching a major life event such as starting a family and you don’t feel confident to organize or prepare your finances on your own, you are not alone. With so much to consider during a time of transition, finances are not something that you want to fall by the wayside. Consider hiring a financial advisor who can help set you up for success and provide you with reassurance that you are making all the right decisions for your situation. Should you decide to change jobs soon, you will want to evaluate your savings and retirement plans, all of which a financial planner can help you sort through.

 

Plan for retirement

If you do decide to meet with an advisor or professional to assist you in your financial planning process, they will be able to guide you through some of the opportunities available to you, including investing, savings, and retirement options. Most companies will have programs in place to allow for easy contribution into a 401k program or another type of retirement account. If you are an entrepreneur or work for yourself, once again, you will be responsible for setting up the appropriate accounts for future retirement savings. If you or your spouse wants to save for retirement as a stay-at-home parent, you’re going to want to factor in that you won’t have an income for a certain amount of time. Since everyone is unique in their wants and needs, you should discuss some of the finer details with your partner to determine the best path for your lifestyle and financial situation.

 

Create a college fund

It might feel far off to start planning for your child’s future education before they are even born, but doing so will make a major difference in your financial future if you intend to support them for this experience. Whether you plan to co-sign their loans, cover their expenses, or split the cost of college with them, it’s going to be a large financial investment and commitment. Depending on the school and program they attend, you might be stuck paying off college loans for years after graduation. By starting a college savings account before you have to take on the expenses of having a newborn, you can begin your financial journey ahead of time before life gets busy.

 

As new parents or parents-to-be, your list of priorities is sure to be extensive. With that being said, having a stable financial situation can allow you to celebrate exciting life events while navigating the challenges that come alongside them. By planning early and having conversations with your significant other about the months and years ahead, you can set yourself up for financial success and peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy these special milestones.

 

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: The material is presented solely for information purposes and has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, however Merriman cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source. Merriman does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be relied upon as such. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Merriman and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by Merriman unless a client service agreement is in place.

Where To Start With Estate Settling

Where To Start With Estate Settling

 

Over the 25 years or so that I have been practicing and serving families, one of the crucial points that has surfaced time and again with clients is one that tends to occur after a spouse or family member has passed away, and they seek out our help. Quite understandably, most people have little or no experience in settling an estate and essentially do not know what needs to be done. There are a myriad of actions to be accomplished, each one of them important, and no one knows in what order tasks need to be completed, let alone how to weave through the legal dynamics. So what can we do to help?

About 10 years ago, I finally grew so frustrated with not being able to help several of my client families settle estate matters after a death that I decided I was going to solve the matter myself. I went back through all of my estate planning books to seek out as many action items as I could locate. In addition, I went through dozens of other legal and financial websites to gain as much knowledge as I could. The problem was not in locating information on estate settling but rather not to drown in the vastness of it. Ultimately, I realized that my task was to consolidate and distill as much information as possible into a short and clear format that we could share. The result was a composition of knowledge written in simple English that went through peer review multiple times to create a master end-of-life checklist.

The “Checklist: After a Death Occurs” was constructed to assist our clients and their families so they could understand most of the basic estate settling matters that must be pursued after a loved one has passed. The document is arranged in a priority-driven format, so from top to bottom, front to back, the most important estate marshalling activities are listed first. The current iteration is about six pages long and contains an additional short checklist at the end for a surviving spouse.

There is also a third checklist that we created in addition to these main two. The third list is a pre-mortem checklist for someone who is ailing or terminally ill, designed to assist family members with estate matter topics while the individual is still alive. We hope these tools will be useful to you and your family, and we would love to hear back if they help.

 

 

Disclosure: The material is presented solely for information purposes and has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, however Merriman cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source. Merriman does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be relied upon as such.